Straight to Hell

Label: Fighter Records
Three similar bands: Wizard/Stormwarrior/Mystic Prophecy

Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. Death to the Wizard!
2. My Spirit
3. Afterlife
4. Straight to Hell
5. Damnation's Here
6. Fear
7. Hell is on Fire
8. Black Mamba
9. When it's All Over
10. Old King's Visions (Pt. VI)

Raúl Serrano - Bass
Jonkol Tera - Keyboards
Carlos Escudero - Guitars, Vocals
Pedro J. Monge - Guitars, Keyboards
Jandro - Drums

Fight to the End (2002)
I Made my Own Hell (2003)
Metal of the World (2010)
Shadows of Combat (2013)
Against All Kings (2017)

Dann Hoyos - Guitars (lead) (track 6)
Gavin Ledema - Guitars (lead) (track 2)
Diego Zapatero - Keyboard solo (track 5)

Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered at Chromaticity Studios.Biscay, Spain
Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Pedro J. Monge
Layout by The Blind Gallery
Illustration vy Raúl Monge
Cover art by Darkgrove

Released 2020-10-06
Reviewed 2020-11-11

fighter records

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It is the sixth album for the Spanish band Vhäldemar that we are looking at today, Straight to Hell is what they call it – a reflection on where the world is going? I positively reviewed the previous album a few years ago, and in many regards this album is rather similar both seen to the artwork and the music. So, the real question is whether or not the title refers to the quality of the songs, does it go straight to hell?

It is heavy metal or power metal according to the established frames of the genre, there are no surprises coming. We get catchy choruses, powerful chords and melodies, passionate vocals and all those things that we have come to expect form Vhäldedemar, those who know their previous albums will find this one to be rather familiar – as I wrote, there are no surprises. The album is short with a playing time of less than forty minutes split over nine tracks, and it good that they keep it short because the variation of songs is about the same as you usually find on albums in this genre. I think it is a solid production, and probably what you might expect from Vhäldemar if you reference their previous albums.

I think the previous album was better, this one doesn’t have the same edge and perhaps not the same quality of songs either. Still, it is a good album, this band has much to offer for the heavy metal fans, but I would like something slightly more adventurous. What I am mostly missing though, is that really distinct hit songs that draws you to the album and sticks inside the mind to make you want to return to the album over and over – I don’t hear that on this album.

Straight to Hell is a good release, a solid release, a release that should appeal to fans of the band and of the heavy metal genre. It may need a little bit more thinking outside the box and that sort of thing, I want albums to surprise and feel new and this one doesn’t – but it will probably not disappoint, and a good soundtrack for the journey straight to hell.